Tag Archives: children

Snow and ice and vipers, oh my!


I got “grown up” markers for Christmas:)

“Stay away from us if you don’t want to get sick! We have a viper!”

“A virus.”

“A virus!”

The day before the snow came, two of the boys came down with a “viper.” Poor boys; I found one draped motionless and silent on an armchair, and another fast asleep and rosy cheeked on the sofa.

“Dad says this viper is really catching.”

As usual, Dad was right – the next day, when the snow hit, three of us fell one after the other, like dominoes. However, two of the boys were already better, and two of us weren’t sick until the evening, so we got some good sledding in on the first day. The snow was too cold to pack to make a snowman – that was the very first thing our four-year-old wanted to try. But the sledding was awesome.


Mostly awesome

Our back yard is a hill of four tiers – that is, it slopes, then levels out briefly, four times before you hit the woods. I wasn’t sure whether a sled would stop at each tier, or just keep going – it turns out it keeps going, and fast! It was fun, for the oldest and I, but not safe for the littlest ones, so they sledded down the side yard.

The littles reacted differently to sledding. I brought the two middle ones on a ride down the hill and into the driveway. The smaller hopped out ready for more, but the other was silent and a little solemn.

“Did you like that?” I asked him.

“Y-es,” he said uncertainly. Then he looked at me with a troubled expression, and said, “But I wasn’t having fun.”

“Oh! Was it too scary?” I asked. He nodded. “It is a little scary,” I said.

That little one left to set off stomp rockets (a wonderful invention, and a present from Gramp and Granny for Christmas) in the back yard, while the littlest ones and I kept on.

They loved it. Both spilled out once; and another time, the bigger boy in front spilled out, leaving a pile of snow and his two-year-old brother in the sled. I looked at the latter, to see how he’d taken this latest ride. He beamed up at me.

“We crashing!” he said happily.

While the boys were busy in the snow I took a ride or two solo down the big hill. The first time, I ran into a couple of briars that had looked more harmless than they proved to be. But I thought I’d smashed them down pretty well, so that they wouldn’t hurt me the second time. What I didn’t reckon on was that the second time I went down, I’d go much further than the first time, since the trail was packed; and I ended up in a much worse briar patch (see above.) Ouch.

We were snowed in for five days. When I told my brother in Minnesota how many inches of snow it was that shut down our fair city in the mountains, he laughed loud and long. We hardly ever get snow here, so when we do it’s a big deal. As a North Carolina parent pointed out to me when we first moved here, “They may laugh at us in Minnesota. But there, if you slide off the road, you aren’t liable to fall very far. That isn’t the case here.” A good point.

Now the warmer weather is back again, and we don’t need to light the stove anymore. The warmer weather is nice, but it really is lovely to build a fire and feel it warm the house – and to smell woodsmoke outside from the neighbors’ chimneys and our own.


Rats! And baby lions!

The sea-faring rat and Ratty from The Wind in the Willows (image source)

The sea-faring rat and Ratty from The Wind in the Willows (image source)

Our small nieces visited us before Easter. The cousins played inside and out, and named some of the local animals (“Shaggy”, a pony, and “Tim”, a donkey, are two that I remember). We talked about animals we are afraid of – lions, tigers, and snakes. I told the children that I am afraid of rats. The boys and I had been listening to a recording of The Wind in the Willows for days, and of course I love Ratty – but I hadn’t connected him until then with real rats. Little did I know rats would come up again soon!

During our nieces’ stay we¬†were locked out of the house by mistake. By this means I found that in addition to its other positive points, our house is difficult to break in to without smashing something. So I repaired to the neighbors’ to use their phone. I met three young people there, and one lent me his cell phone. I wasn’t able to reach anyone at first.

“Just leave it here when you’re done,” the young man said. “You can put it in the rat trap there.”

His companions’ faces froze in the paralysis that follows a bloomer. I could see from his face that he felt it too, but he carried on bravely.

“It doesn’t work, really,” he continued. “We’re basically just feeding him peanut butter.”

We all laughed a bit, and I thanked them and left. I hope I didn’t look shocked about the rat. Later I duly left the phone in the rat trap. It was as neat as a pin and looked to be the kind used for catch and release; so my neighbors are humane as well as kindly.

Finally, a tale of baby lions, not real ones fortunately. For history class last week our oldest read the story of Gilgamesh. I read the epic in college, but remembered almost none of it; so when I passed through the hall and heard, “…who was half man and half god,” I stopped and said, “Wait now, what? Who’s this?”

“Don’t worry, mom,” my son replied.” It’s just a story made up by the baby lions.”

“The Babylonians?”

“Yes, the Babylonians.”

So there you have it. More bulletins as events warrant.